Food is a universal language that unites people across cultures and borders. It has the power to bring people together, bridging differences and creating connections. As someone who loves throwing parties, I am always on the lookout for exciting and flavorful dishes to delight my guests. One of my go-to recipes is Malaysian Gado Gado – a mixed vegetable salad with spicy peanut sauce that is sure to impress any crowd.
Gado Gado is an authentic Indonesian dish, commonly found in Indonesian street food stalls as well as high-end restaurants across Southeast Asia. This salad is a versatile and healthy option, perfect as a side dish or even as a meal on its own. Packed with nutrients from an array of vegetables and protein from tofu and hard-boiled eggs or shrimp, it satisfies both taste buds and nutritional requirements.
What sets Malaysian Gado Gado apart from other vegetable salads is its signature peanut sauce. The sauce is made with roasted peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, lemon juice as well as other spices such as shrimp paste, soy sauce, and chili powder. When combined with mixed vegetables carefully arranged on a plate or served in bowls, this sauce adds an explosion of flavors – sweet, salty, spicy and umami – in every bite.
In this recipe article, I will share my version of Malaysian Gado Gado. Whether you are looking for an authentic Indonesian dish or simply want to try something new that will impress your guests at your next party or gathering, give this recipe a try. Trust me; you won’t regret it!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for an explosion of flavors in your next meal, Malaysian Gado Gado is the perfect choice for you. This vegetable salad with peanut sauce is one of the most delectable and satisfying vegetarian options out there. Trust me; you don’t want to miss out on this authentic Indonesian dish.
The best part about making Gado Gado is that you can mix and match veggies according to your liking. You can toss in some potatoes, tofu, green beans, and even hard-boiled eggs—basically, whatever vegetables you have on hand! The peanut sauce dressing made from roasted peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, chili powder, shrimp paste, coconut milk, soy sauce, kecap manis, and lime juice adds a complex flavor profile that’ll leave your taste buds dancing.
This healthy and flavorful salad is perfect as a side dish or even as a main course. It’s so versatile that it can be served cold or warm depending on your preferences. Furthermore, it’s easy and quick to prepare—a great option when you are running short of time but still want to serve something nutritious and delicious.
Gado Gado is an ideal party menu item as well; your guests will love experimenting with salads they’ve never tried before while you get compliments on your culinary skills. This recipe offers the right balance of creamy and spicy and is perfect for people who take their food seriously.
Overall, there are so many reasons why you’ll love this recipe. Its ability to adapt to various ingredients you have available in your pantry, its dreamy peanut sauce dressing paired with fresh vegetables that provide a refreshing crunch makes it an irresistible choice for any mealtime situation. So go ahead and try this authentic Indonesian salad—your taste buds will thank you!
Before we dive into the recipe instructions, let’s make sure we have all the necessary ingredients for this delectable Malaysian Gado Gado. You can find most of these ingredients in your local supermarket; however, you may need to visit an Asian grocery store for some items. Get your shopping list ready, let’s gather the essentials!
For The Vegetables:
- Green Cabbage: 1/2 head, sliced thinly
- Cucumber: 1 piece, peeled and cut into thin strips
- Potatoes: 2 medium size, boiled and cubed
- Green Beans: 100g, blanched
- Bean Sprouts: 200g, blanched
- Tofu: 200g, fried and cubed
- Hard-boiled Eggs: 2 pieces, halved
For The Gado Gado Salad Peanut Sauce:
- Roasted Peanuts: 1 cup
- Garlic: 3 cloves
- Palm Sugar: 2 tbsp
- Chili Powder or Fresh Chilies: 2 tsp or 2 pcs (deseeded if preferred)
- Shrimp Paste or Terasi Belacan: 1 tsp
- Lemon Juice or Tamarind Juice: 1 tbsp
- Kecap Manis or Sweet Soy Sauce: 2 tbsp
- Soy Sauce: 1 tbsp
- Coconut Milk: 1/2 cup
- Vegetable Oil: for stir-frying
Note: If you’re feeling creative or want to experiment with flavors – you can try swapping out veggies for others that you like!
The Recipe How-To
Prepare the Vegetables
Start by blanching the green beans and bean sprouts in boiling water for a minute or two until they are just tender with a firm texture. Next, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process and to retain their bright green color. Boil the potatoes until they are soft to the touch – this shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes. Peel off the skin and slice into thin bitesized pieces. Peel and slice the cucumber and then wash, drain, and shred the cabbage.
Fry the Tofu
Heat vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add your cubed tofu, stir gently, then allow it to cook until it is golden brown or crispy. Take out once done and place on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
Place 4-5 eggs in a small pot filled with cold water, bring it to a boil over high heat, then cover with a lid after boiling, then turn off the heat. Leave for 8-10 minutes, then rinse them under cold water for ease of peeling.
Make Peanut Sauce
In a food processor or blender, add your roasted peanuts,, garlic, palm sugar , chili powder , shrimp paste (optional), soy sauce, lemon juice and pulse until blended well. Add coconut milk gradually while blending until it becomes smooth and creamy peanut sauce.
Assemble The Salad
Arrange all of your shredded vegetables: cucumber slices , bean sprouts ,green beans , thinly sliced cabbage leaves , potato slices , hard-boiled eggs cut into halves or quarters topped with fried tofu on top of them – on a large platter or bowl. Pour the Peanut Sauce over your salad or serve it as a dressing on the side according to choice.
This dish can be served spicy by using more chilies/Terasi in the dressing. Enjoy Gado gado, an authentic Indonesian vegetable dish that is also popular in Malaysia as a side dish or light meal that will leave you feeling full of flavor!
Substitutions and Variations
There are many ways to vary this delicious Gado Gado recipe to suit your personal taste or dietary restrictions. Here are some suggestions for substitutes:
– Vegetables: You can use any fresh or blanched vegetables you have on hand, such as carrots, cauliflower, sweet peas, or broccoli. Be creative and mix and match your veggies!
– Protein: Tofu is the traditional protein in Gado Gado, but you can also use tempeh, seitan, edamame, boiled shrimp, shredded chicken or beef.
– Peanut sauce: If you do not have palm sugar on hand, feel free to substitute with coconut sugar or brown sugar. To make the sauce gluten-free, replace soy sauce with tamari sauce. Instead of fresh roasted peanuts garlic palm sugar and shrimp paste (terasi belacan) for the perfect spicy and sweet taste, store-bought peanut butter combined with coconut milk would suffice for a vegetarian version.
– Spice level: If you want to add more heat to the dish, consider adding more chili powder or fresh chilies to the peanut sauce. You may also sprinkle some hot sauce over the veggies before serving.
– Serving temperature: While this recipe is usually served cold or at room temperature, it’s also great served hot as a warm salad. Try heating up the vegetable mixture just before serving to give your Gado Gado a new spin.
Whatever substitutions and variations you decide on, don’t forget to keep the flavors of this classic Indonesian salad intact for an authentic taste of Southeast Asia right in your own kitchen.
Serving and Pairing
If you’re looking for a fantastic side dish or vegetarian entree, gado gado is the perfect choice. This Indonesian vegetable salad pairs well with a variety of main dishes, or can easily stand on its own as the main attraction.
When it comes to serving and pairing gado gado, there are many options that will complement the flavors and textures of this dish. For example, you might consider pairing it with grilled chicken or fish for a light and flavorful meal. You could also pair it with tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian option that provides ample protein.
Gado gado is traditionally served warm, although it can also be served cold if you prefer. To serve it warm, simply prepare the vegetables and peanut sauce ahead of time and heat them up just before serving.
As for drinks that pair well with gado gado, try a refreshing jasmine iced tea, which complements the spicy peanut sauce of the dish quite nicely. A sparkling wine such as Prosecco can also be paired with gado gado to help refresh your palate in between bites.
For those who enjoy experimenting with flavor combinations, try pairing this authentic Indonesian food with Chinese peanut sauce for a twist on the classic recipe. No matter how you choose to serve and pair your gado gado, make sure to savor each bite of this delicious vegetable salad!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Preparing food for guests can be a hassle, especially on the day of an event. Fortunately, this Malaysian Gado Gado recipe can be made ahead of time and kept for later use.
To make things easier, prepare the vegetables in advance, but refrain from adding the sauce until ready to serve. Keep the vegetables covered and refrigerated until needed. Similarly, mix the sauce ingredients together in a separate container, cover it tightly and refrigerate until it’s time for serving.
If you have leftovers or extra sauce, no worries! Store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge, but consume them within two days. When reheating, simply warm up the sauce either on the stove or in the microwave. For optimal reheating, place the vegetable salad in a skillet with some vegetable oil and toss gently over low heat to revive its freshness.
The next day, you can enjoy this dish cold as a summertime lunch snack or mix it up by adding more greens and proteins to your liking. Pair this dish with a glass of chilled lager or iced tea to add more refreshment to your summer palate!
Tips for Perfect Results
Making a Malaysian Gado Gado is not difficult, but there are some tips you can follow to make it perfect every time.
Here are my tips:
1. Boil the Potatoes and Eggs Separately
Potato and egg require different cooking times. Therefore, it’s better to cook them separately. Boiling for about 10-15 minutes is sufficient for both.
2. Blanch the Vegetables
Blanching is a great way to cook vegetables while maintaining their crunchiness and vibrant colors. It also keeps the nutrients intact. Be sure not to over-boil the vegetables; otherwise, they’ll turn soggy.
3. Use Authentic Indonesian ingredients
Using Indonesian ingredients like shrimp paste (terasi), kecap manis, and palm sugar will ensure that your gado-gado tastes authentic. You can find these ingredients at your nearest Asian store or order them online.
4. Roast those Peanuts
Roasting peanuts will bring out their aroma and intensify their flavor, making them perfect for the spicy peanut sauce. You can roast them on a stovetop, in an oven or a microwave.
5. Make Your Own Peanut Sauce
Making peanut sauce from scratch requires a bit of effort but is worth it in terms of taste and satisfaction. You can adjust it according to your preferable level of spiciness by adding more chilies or reducing them altogether.
6. Don’t Rush the Sauce Preparation
To ensure that your peanut sauce comes out smooth and creamy, you need to blend it properly while taking enough time so that all flavors meld together correctly.
7. Drizzle Lemon Juice on Top
Just before serving, sprinkle some lemon juice over your salad. This adds a tangy flavor that enhances the other flavors.
Following these helpful tips will allow you to prepare an authentic Indonesian vegetable dish that you can enjoy as a side dish or main meal with family and friends!
As you progress through the recipe, it’s inevitable to come across questions that may seem difficult to answer. There might be some confusing steps or ingredients that you’re unsure about. Don’t worry! It’s common for even the most seasoned chefs to have their doubts. To make everything clearer and easier for you, we’ll go through some frequently asked questions about this Malaysian Gado Gado recipe.
What is the sauce of gado-gado made from?
When making a gado-gado peanut sauce, it is common to use ingredients such as toasted peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, bird-eye chilies, shrimp paste, tamarind, lime, sweet soy sauce, and water. These ingredients are typically fried or roasted before being mixed together to create the flavorful sauce.
Is gado-gado sauce same as satay sauce?
When it comes to Indonesian cuisine, there are two popular sauces that are often used – Gado Gado Peanut Sauce and Satay Sauce. While both of these sauces share similar ingredients like peanuts and spices, Satay Sauce typically has a higher peanut content and extra spices such as nutmeg, clove, anise, galanga, fennel seed, cinnamon, and cardamom. While Gado Gado Peanut Sauce is typically used as a salad dressing, Satay Sauce is perfect for flavoring seasoned or grilled meats on skewers.
What is Chinese peanut sauce made of?
Are you looking for a scrumptious sauce to enhance the flavor of your dish? Look no further than the flavorful Chinese peanut sauce! This sauce is a combination of peanut butter and soy sauce, and it can be used as a marinade or even for making a tantalizing pan sauce for your poultry. So why not add a touch of Chinese cuisine to your next gathering?
What does gado-gado taste like?
Gado-gado’s distinct flavor is the result of a perfect combination of sweetness with a spicy kick and savory notes. Peanut sauce is the star of the dish and the recipe requires the use of ground fried peanuts. An alternative option to enhance the sauce’s richness is the use of kidney beans. Coconut sugar or palm sugar is another key ingredient for adding sweetness to the sauce. In case of unavailability, brown sugar can be used as a substitute.
In conclusion, indulging in Malaysian Gado-Gado can be an enlightening experience that opens the doors to a whole new world of South Asian cuisine. The dish is easy and straightforward to make, packed with various flavors, textures, and nutrients from vegetables and peanuts, which makes it a perfect choice for a healthy diet.
This Indonesian salad is incredibly versatile, making it an ideal side dish or even main course when served alongside some grilled or spicy delicacies. I hope that my tips and detailed recipe instructions have made this dish feel more approachable for you to try out in your own kitchen.
Whether you’re trying it out for the first time or experimenting with variations of your peanut sauce, the Gado Gado recipe has something for everyone’s taste buds. So get ready to dive into this authentic Indonesian food and enjoy delicious bites of this amazing dish with family and friends.
Malaysian Gado Gado (Vegetable Salad With Peanut Sauce) Recipe
- 1/2 green cabbage
- 1 cucumber
- 3 potatoes (boiled in jackets)
- 3 hard-boiled eggs
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts (your choice-lentil sprouts are good, or mung)
- 1/2 cup green beans
- 1 cup tofu, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
- 1 cup coconut milk (or cow milk if you can't find coconut-but coconut milk really makes this sauce!)
- 4 tablespoons ground roasted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Skin the potatoes and dice. Parboil green beans and cut in 1" lengths. Slice cabbage in small squares. Bring to boil(don’t overcook),you just want this crisp tender. Fry tofu cubes in hot oil to crisp. Julienne cucumber. Slice eggs into quarters. Place the vegetables decoratively on a large platter. Serve individually with peanut sauce.
- To make Peanut Sauce:
- Saute chopped onion in oil. Add chile powder, reduce heat; add peanuts and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Bring to boil and add coconut milk and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, sugar and lemon juice. This sauce is preferably served hot during winter and at room temperature during summer.
Your Own Notes
Recommended Recipes Just For You
Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!